DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – With parts of the Miami Valley expected to experience severe weather Wednesday afternoon and into Thursday, professionals say drivers need to be careful not to underestimate the water on the roadways.
Senior specialist with AAA, Kara Hitchens, said “We see more traffic crashes in rainy weather — wet surfaces on the roadways — than any other kind of weather. A lot of people think that it’s snow or ice, but a lot of times people are very careful about driving in snow and ice and they tend to let their guard down a little bit in the rain.”
Ohio State Highway Safety Patrol said they regularly see an increase in crash-related injuries in rainy weather in comparison to the winter months as well. And they said drivers should prepare themselves and their car for the coming storms.
“You [have to] plan ahead,” said Sgt. Chris Colbert, of OSP Dayton post. “Just like driving on snow or ice, you can’t avoid sudden inputs in steering and braking. Make sure that your wipers and that kind of stuff are actually working and in good condition. We see a lot of people that are driving vehicles that [have] questionable tires and that kind of stuff. Obviously that contributes a lot to significant hydroplaning issues as well.”
And while it seems unlikely, he said your chances of hydroplaning may be increased due to the hot weather.
“We’ve had a lot of heat, so there’s a lot of oil and stuff laying on top of the asphalt that’s been brought out,” said Colbert. “That, coupled with the rain makes conditions very ice-like as far as what your abilities to stop are.”
Hitchens added, it’s also important to make sure you can see and be seen.
“You want to make sure that you have your lights on in the rain. When it’s raining, when your windshield wipers are running, you headlights should be on.”
The professionals also advised avoiding standing water, using the rule, “turn around, don’t drown.” And one of the most obvious but often overlooked tips, they said, is to simply slow down.
“You just want to be in control of the vehicle,” said Hitchens, “not going so fast that you’re not in control and that you can hydroplane or skid or just lose control of the vehicle.”